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Independence Day – How Old Age is a (New) Number

Movin' up – so goes the definition of old age. Maybe this confirms what you have already observed, and the Society of Actuaries (which also uses Social Security Life Tables) has also calculated. According to Stanford economist John Shoven, the definition of "old" is rising, ridiculously compared to the 1920s, but very interesting, nonetheless. Says Shoven: For women, "old" is approximately age 73, with women transitioning out of middle age at 65. For men, he asserts that "old" is around age 70, with transitioning out of middle age at age 60.  The assumption underlying this are based on "risk of dying" within 1, 2 or 4 years. If it is 1% or less, a person is is middle-aged. Good graphic, and no surprise, it's another document in the litany of advice for deferring Social Security payments until late, late, late, despite the actual behavior in which 42% of men and 48% of women are claiming it at age 62.

Something’s rotten in care of the elderly – what does this week’s KHN tell us?

Do hospitals mismanage support for vulnerable older adults?  And we wonder why people, including doctors, avoid hospitals. We knew that an older adult going into the hospital experiences or departs with an unwanted side effect. Half a million per year acquire C.Difficile in hospitals -- costing $4.8 billion; ICU risk of death is 35% higher for elderly. And MRSA has a 12-month death rate of between 20 and 35% -- with the most vulnerable, you guessed it, the elderly.  But did you know that one-third of hospital patients over age 70 and half of the patients leave the hospital more disabled than when they arrived?  Question raised: what about appointed or actual advocates when elderly patients are admitted – is someone present or appointed by the hospital who will observe care, including vigilance about hand-washing or ICU treatment– perhaps the state-by-state Care Act address this in a future update.

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